She says save it, and he says spend it. She says CDs, and he says options. Save it. Spend it. CDs. Options. Should they call the whole thing off?
Probably not. If disagreeing about money were sufficient grounds for ending a relationship, we'd be a nation of celibates. Opposites attract, even when it comes to managing money.Communication and compromise are obviously critical to resolving money disputes with your spouse, but you also need some practical money-management tech-niques to cool off some of the hottest issues - such as keeping track of the household's finances.
Whether by design or default, one spouse generally ends up as keeper of the books, a situation that can make the bookkeeper bitter at being stuck with a thankless task or make the other spouse resentful about being out of the loop.
Kathleen Gurney, who heads Financial Psychology Corp., in Incline Village, Nev., recently worked on a prenuptial agreement for a couple in which the woman was "tremendously responsible" and the man "totally irresponsible." He wanted her to balance the checkbook and basically take care of him, Gurney says.
"It was like marrying his mother," she says. "You wonder if they're going to make it."
Spencer Sherman, head of Sherman Financial Inc. in Philadelphia and San Francisco, says one of his clients had turned over money-management responsibilities to his wife, along with an implied warning: You handle everything, but if anything goes wrong, I'll have something to say about it.
"She was really feeling the pressure," Sherman says.
Sometimes the solution is as simple as taking turns managing the checkbook or having regular conversations so the spouse who doesn't keep the books knows what's going on - anything but letting the situation fester. If all else fails, you can even hire a bookkeeper.
With most money conflicts, finding a solution doesn't take a summit conference.